Kira perched on the headland and looked out at the stillness of the evening. This was one of her favourite spots but it had quite a while since she’d been able to visit. The winter storms that lashed that part of the coast so fiercely had kept her away for months. Now with spring she was able to get out there once again.
Looking around at the surrounding coastline she saw that sea was lapping at the caves just past the headland. She would have to wait for the low tides of the summer solstice before she could risk venturing into them this year. Every year the water crept higher. Perhaps the cave entrances would be entirely submerged during the coming decade. It was hard to say. Some experts felt that the rate the oceans were rising was finally beginning to lessen. Others felt it was too soon to say. As had always been the case with climate change, predictions were often totally wrong for there were so many variables involved.
All in all it made very Kira very glad she’d overcome her aversion to caves and ventured into the deepest one last summer. It was there she found the journal stowed carefully on a high rock ledge. Wrapped in many layers of yellowing plastic it had glowed like treasure in the long rays of setting sun that illuminated the shadowy recesses of the cave’s rear wall in high summer. She could imagine that Ash, the author of the journal, had placed it there on a similar evening decades before. Of course the sea levels were lower then and he would have had to scramble up the cliff for a few metres beforehand.
Those past times when climate change was wreaking havoc on the world had always been hard for her to get her head around. She’d never understood why so many people had been in denial and why so many of those that comprehended something of impact of climate change were utterly panicked and fearful. Why hadn’t they just gotten on with and worked together to ensure that people were better prepared and protected? It was only when she read Ash’s journal that she came to understand what it was like back then.
Ash had hidden the journal the day before his family were due to leave on the cruise liner that had been repurposed as an evacuation vessel. They were to be taken to the designated ‘Green City’ further north. Anyone else who could pay the exorbitant ticket price and then fork up the $100,000 entrance fee that granted them residency in the city was leaving with them. Once there they’d have to spend even more purchasing a secure place to live and setting up businesses that could operate within the strict environmental guidelines enforced by the International Green Cities Group.
In his journal Ash had been both excited and dismayed by the prospect. Once in the Green City he would be forced to comply to the rigid societal codes that governed all aspects of life there. There’d be no more wandering off his own to explore the rugged, ever changing coastline that fringed the coastal town he’d known all his life. Not only would he be leaving behind his freedom he would be leaving behind friends and acquaintances who couldn’t find the money to get out.
Kira’s grandparents were among those who had stayed behind. They had no other option but to stay on and attempt to survive as best they could. Oddly enough, once the richer members of society had gone things got a little easier for them. Kira’s mum Ruby was a young teenager at the time. Just as now she had an acute political awareness and was always telling Kira how repressive society had become back then. There were rules and regulations governing every aspect of life. Of course dwindling resources meant some kind of control was necessary but a lot of the rules had been downright petty and, as was often the case then, they favoured rich. Once those in charge has abandoned them the people left behind put fairer measures in place.
“A lot of it was just plain common sense,” Ruby was fond of saying. She was a great believer in common sense and credited it with way her own parents had relocated their family to higher ground and helped set up the organic gardens and water storage facilities that now supplied the community that had grown up around them.
Kira was not as politically motivated as her mother. She grew bored listening to the convoluted discussions and decision making by consensus processes that her mother loved. The discussions about common sense seemed to be merely stating the obvious.
Kira and her friends agreed politics, environmental policies and common sense had their place but there was more to it all than that. Between themselves they speculated as to just what that other quality they sought to bring into their lives was. Together they’d come up with the term – Earth Sense. This they were still defining. It had to do with awareness and with basic values. When the Earth and it’s health were placed as the prime value everything changed. The values of late capitalism that Ash railed against in his journal no long applied. Instead a new value system began to assert itself.
As Kira and her friends saw it their generation had a responsibility to define those new values for they would take them forward into an ecologically viable future. Their parents and grandparents were great people, there was no doubt about it, but so much of their energy was directed into survival issues. Any left over energy went into setting up environmental, political and economic structures that supported everyone equally. The Green Cities with their rules and regulations had taken a different route. At some point in the future the residents of those cities would seek to expand into the surrounding countryside – the land they’d abandoned all those years ago. When that happened the people in the communities wanted to have structures in place that would prevent the exploitation the Earth’s resources,
While Kira and her generation respected those ideas they felt they didn’t go far enough. In face to face conversations and in internet forums they communicated their intuitive understandings. Together they felt that a spiritual connection to the Earth had to become the paramount value that underscored everything – only then would a new holistic society evolve across the globe.